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Innovative strategies used to teach mathematics: A look at educators and classrooms across six countries

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Mathematics is an increasingly critical subject and the achievement of students in mathematics has been the focus of many recent reports and studies. However, few studies exist that both observe

Mathematics is an increasingly critical subject and the achievement of students in mathematics has been the focus of many recent reports and studies. However, few studies exist that both observe and discuss the specific teaching and assessment techniques employed in the classrooms across multiple countries. The focus of this study is to look at classrooms and educators across six high achieving countries to identify and compare teaching strategies being used. In Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Switzerland, twenty educators were interviewed and fourteen educators were observed teaching. Themes were first identified by comparing individual teacher responses within each country. These themes were then grouped together across countries and eight emerging patterns were identified. These strategies include students active involvement in the classroom, students given written feedback on assessments, students involvement in thoughtful discussion about mathematical concepts, students solving and explaining mathematics problems at the board, students exploring mathematical concepts either before or after being taught the material, students engagement in practical applications, students making connections between concepts, and students having confidence in their ability to understand mathematics. The strategies identified across these six high achieving countries can inform educators in their efforts of increasing student understanding of mathematical concepts and lead to an improvement in mathematics performance.

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  • 2014-12